Wildfires scorching California

Wildfires are burning their way throughout the Golden State, taking lives and entire towns with them and forcing evacuations.

Twelve fires are destroying portions of Northern and Southern California. The most destructive are the Camp Fire, which has been burning in Butte County, and the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles County and Ventura County.

Both the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire started on Nov. 8 and are raging through residential areas.

Thousands evacuated their homes and according to CBS News, 57,000 structures are in danger due to the Woolsey Fire’s destructive power.

The Woolsey Fire has blazed through multi-million-dollar mansions in Malibu and has caused residents to seek refuge in areas with healthier air quality.

President Soraya M. Coley stated in an email that nine fellow CSU campuses have been directly affected by these fires and have “closed or curtailed campus activities.”

Being so close to the site, Chico State, CSU Channel Islands and Sonoma State have been experiencing the worst of the fires.

The Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise, which is 15 miles away from Chico, forcing over 300 members of the Chico State campus community to evacuate.

More than 149,500 acres have been burned during the Camp Fire, but it is now 65 percent contained.

The Woolsey Fire is affecting CSU Channel Islands, along with other universities such as Pepperdine. Both campuses are closed until after Thanksgiving break.

Woolsey has burned close to 100,000 acres and is mostly contained at 88 percent.

High heat and strong winds have created dry conditions that are the ideal environment for wildfires to spread.

According to Patrick Tomlinson, division chief of Aviation Training and Tactical Air Operations at Cal Fire, all that is needed to create a fire is oxygen, an ignition source and fuel, or something that can be burned such as dry grass.

“Forewinds are heated winds that come from the desert. They compress and speed up as they travel through the mountains … sucking all the moisture out of the air,” Tomlinson said. “Wind pushes fire along quickly almost like gasoline.”

The recent high winds and temperatures in California complicate fighting the fires.

Predicted rain in the forecast also complicates finding remains of those caught in the fire.

Almost 10,000 residences have been destroyed in the Camp Fire. The number of people confirmed dead is 76 and continues to rise.

More than 1,100 structures have been destroyed in the Woolsey Fire and three fatalities have been reported. The causes of the fires are under investigation.

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